As an outdoors lover, it’s only natural that you’d want to pass this love on to your child. However, in today’s world of TV, video games and iPads, getting the kids out the door the first few times may take a bit of convincing and encouragement.
The simple truth, though, is that kids need the sunshine, fresh air, and beauty of nature just as much as you do. Here are some of the rewards your family will experience by getting your outdoorphins together, as well as some tips on how to get started.
Why Bring The Kids?
Even if you have a passion for the outdoors, your inclination may not always be to bring the kids along. If that’s the case, though, you may want to rethink things. More parents than ever are heading outside for serious adventure with their kids, and for good reason. Think for a moment about the very real benefits of getting outside.
It’s healthier! There are few things quite as unhealthy as sitting in front of a screen anywhere on the planet. Simply stepping out into the sunshine boosts vitamin D production, and when you get your kids moving around with something like a solid hike or rock climbing, they’re getting far more activity than in the house.
It’s a way to connect: Unplugging and getting outside together is a great way to connect and talk with your children as you explore new things.
It’s educational: Seriously, cartoons are never going to teach your child about life under the sea. Scuba diving off a coral reef, though, just might. Teach your child the names of the birds you see in front of you while you’re out. See nature in action at every turn, and explain, explain, explain. It’s knowledge your child will use throughout his or her life.
How to Get Started
Not sure how you’re going to make it happen? It’s easier than you think. Begin by setting goals for your family. What is it that you’d really like to do outside together? Set that goal, and then start small. Consider an afternoon picnic at a nearby state park. Bring the Frisbee and a ball if you like to make it a day. In a few weeks, consider an afternoon hike. While you’re out, think about doing some wildlife spotting. Tell your children to count how many animals they see. Don’t forget to bring a magnifying glass so your little one can look at the tiniest forms of life, too. Keep working on these smaller outdoor experiences to build up to your real goal. For example, if you’d like to spend a week backpacking in the northern wilderness, you’re going to need some camping and hiking experience, so after you have taken day hikes for a few weeks, consider a backyard camping trip. Then go with a camping trip to the state park. The idea is to work up to your family goals.
The kids aren’t going to slow you down while you’re out. In fact, you may be slowing them down, so don’t wait any longer to get out there!